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Mission Impossible: A Torah Thought for Parashat Pekudai by Rabbi Mordechai Rabinovitz

The walls of the Mishkan were constructed from beams, ten cubits high, one and a half cubits wide, and one cubit thick (Shemot 26:16-17 with Rashi).  In the Sinai wilderness, to erect a building from such beams,  even a building with a tent-like roof, must have been a daunting task indeed. Little wonder then that the Midrash has Moshe doubting his, or anybody’s ability, to stand up those beams (Rashi Shemot 39:33).

But Hashem, according to the Midrash, urges Moshe on: “Do it with your hands and it will seem that you are erecting it, when in fact it will come together [miraculously] by itself”.  Thus the verse (Shemot 40:2) states: “On the first day of the first month you shall erect the Mishkan”, indicating that it will be erected by human power, but when reporting the fulfillment of this command, the Torah does not say “On the first day of the first month, he erected the Mishkan”.  Rather, it states (Shemot 40:17): “In the first month, in the second year, on the first of the month, the Mishkan was erected“, as if to say, it came together on its own.

How many times do we witness achievements of mankind, and fail to recognize that they only appear to be the handiwork of men, but are in fact nothing short of miracles?!  Take the State of Israel and its remarkable success in absorbing millions of Jews from all over the globe, in defending itself successfully in war, in building one of the only economies to survive the global decline, in becoming the world’s leading hi tech innovator, and on and on.  Are these acheivements merely human achievements accomplished against all the odds?

The Midrash, I believe, tells us that these impossible accomplishments may seem to be wholly human achievements; but in fact they are miracles transpiring before our eyes.  Many of the challenges besetting the State of Israel and the Jewish people today seem like mission impossible.  But we must always bear in mind: building a palace for G-d is an impossible task; but if we set about to do it, He will make it happen.  Speedily in our days.

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